Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

Global vaccine and immunization scale up: A challenge to keep the momentum

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At the inaugural pledging conference of The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) on June 13, a record $4.3 billion in donations was secured from private and public donors, including a $450 million multi-year pledge from the United States. Now that the international community has shown GAVI the money, securing the resources to potentially surpass the goal of immunizing an additional 250 million children by 2015, next steps to show results and keep the movement’s momentum are key. In that vein, the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a panel discussion Monday exploring GAVI going forward with representatives from key global entities.

The current momentum behind GAVI is unquestionable, said event moderator Lisa Carty from CSIS, seldom does an organization set a pledge goal and comes away with $600 million more than they requested. But the panelists were sure to point out that this momentum was garnered through targeted advocacy from a broad base of supporters, and sustaining this momentum will be challenging but essential…

“In it to save lives”

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To the sound of a ticking metronome, Dr. Caroline Ryan of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator gave an update on the scale up of voluntary medical male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa Wednesday morning at the premiere of the new short film “In It to Save Lives: Scaling Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention for Maximum Public Health Impact.”

The metronome was timed to tick once for each of the five new HIV infections that occur every minute worldwide, 3.5 of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa…

UN AIDS Declaration sets some ambitious goals, fails to address others

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The United Nations General Assembly adopted the ‘Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to eliminate HIV/AIDS’ Friday at the conclusion of the three-day High-Level Meeting on AIDS in New York City. The ambitious goals set forth in the declaration include putting 15 million people on life-saving antiretroviral therapy in low and middle-income countries by 2015 (about twice the number currently on therapy) and halving the number of tuberculosis-related deaths among people with HIV. The plan includes a “push towards” ending HIV in children in the next five years, and Member States also agreed to increase AIDS-related spending to reach between $22 billion and $24 billion in low- and middle-income countries by 2015…

Global Health advocates discuss urgent need for new vaccines

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When John Lusingu began working as a doctor in southern Tanzania in the mid-1990s, he immediately grew frustrated from the lack of resources, human capital, basic equipment, and other necessities required to run a healthcare system. With many of his patients dying from AIDS, the young doctor quickly realized new solutions were needed to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which were ravaging communities.

A decade later he began to research HIV/AIDS epidemiology, and now serves as a co-principal investigator for the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial in Tanzania. Lusingu joined with other global health advocates to highlight the urgent need to develop vaccines for the deadliest global epidemics…

Global Fund hosts meeting on HIV financing challenge at UN

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Speakers including Global Fund and UNAIDS officials, two African health ministers, a U.S. State Department official and a Nigerian woman living with HIV addressed a packed room on the thorny issue of finding the financial resources for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and support. A number of speakers lauded the progress in the AIDS response to date and the instrumental role of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in that response. State Department official John Monahan assured the audience that the United States was “more committed than ever” to the global AIDS response and also articulated a commitment to use every American tax dollar wisely and to coordinate efforts with the Global Fund to avoid duplication of effort and services. But he also noted the need to be realistic and the need for other donors and the private sector to do more to get the job done…

PEPFAR, UNAIDS call for an end to mother-to-child transmission of AIDS

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The second day of United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on AIDS activities culminated with an announcement by the head of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program representatives along with UNAIDS that they have set the goal of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of AIDS by 2015.

At the star-studded afternoon session where the announcement was made, President Bill Clinton, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon, actress Naomi Watts, musical artist and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lenox and others gathered to speak up for pregnant mothers and children affected by and infected with and at risk of HIV.

Peace Corps’ Buck Buckingham: AIDS at 30

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Warren W. Buckingham III – best known as Buck – is director of the Office of AIDS Relief at the Peace Corps. In his career he has played critical roles in fighting AIDS domestically and globally. Most recently he had a major impact as the Kenya country coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program for six years, overseeing a budget that grew from $30 million in 2003 to nearly $600 million today. He began his work in AIDS some 26 years ago in writing a proposal that secured funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish the AIDS Arms Network in Dallas, Texas, one of the first domestic demonstration projects for enhanced care of people living with AIDS in the U.S. (These grants are largely viewed as having provided the foundation for the Ryan White CARE Act, and Buck worked for a period of time in the early 90s at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in the Ryan White Program). Soon after Buck started on that project, he was diagnosed with HIV. For years, he has spoken publicly about living with the disease, helping to erase stigma and shame both in America and Africa. John Donnelly interviewed Buckingham for the final interview in a Science Speaks series on 30 years of AIDS.

The road to ensuring access to affordable, effective HIV meds for 15 million in poor countries

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Just as we have reached the point where universal access is no longer an unattainable dream, there are market forces afoot that could make access to effective, affordable antiretroviral therapy (ART) more challenging than it has been for a number of years, said Chairman of the UNITAID Executive Board Phillippe Douste-Blazy at the opening of a United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting side event in New York City Thursday afternoon.

Pharmaceutical companies are seeking more patents than ever before, including in places like India where the majority of generic HIV drugs are manufactured, Douste-Blazy said. There is also a concern that some companies are withdrawing from the market—at least the market relevant to developing countries…

Opening Day: United Nations negotiates how to win the AIDS battle

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“It is too soon to halt our efforts and to be put off by the cost of treatment and budget cuts,” said United Nations (UN) President Joseph Deiss to the packed general assembly hall Wednesday morning at the opening of the 2011 UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS. Ten million still lack access to treatment and far too many men, women and children are still being infected with HIV, he said, and we have to continue to take care, treatment, prevention and support measures.

“I call on each and every one of you to take on the responsibility for the success of the battle against AIDS.”

Delegates from around the world convened in New York City for the meeting, which many predict will be the last UN meeting on AIDS.

Ready to launch: “ADAPT” study looks at intermittent dosing of PrEP

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Investigators at the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Annual Meeting Monday received an update on a study looking to ease the pill burden on those wishing to benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Inspired by studies of non-human primates over the past seven years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the HPTN 067 “ADAPT” […]